Churches Launch Initiative To Address HIV/AIDS, Drug Use
A group of six churches in Washington, D.C, has launched a counseling program for HIV-positive people and drug users, the Washington Times reports. The program, which will receive funding from the district Department of Health, was announced a day after the city launched an HIV prevention campaign aimed at youth on National HIV Testing Day.The centers run by the churches under the program will providecounseling, testing education materials and referrals to HIV-positivepeople and drug users, as well as their families.
Gregg Pane,director of the health department, said that HIV/AIDS and drug abuseare two of the "biggest health problems in the district today." He alsoapplauded the program, saying that people will "listen to theirpreachers." Sterling Tucker of the Trinity Development Corporation saidthat although many churches do not address HIV/AIDS or substance abuse,it is important for the religious community to become involved withprevention and treatment.
It is important to "invite the religiouscommunity to be more actively involved in the issue of HIV/AIDS becauseunless that community embraces all of us ... we'll have a difficulttime" addressing the disease, he said (Altamirano, Washington Times, 6/29).
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